How #vanlife Captured My Heart

~Written by Kayla~

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Let me premise this post by saying I am not your average travel bug, that’s for damn sure! The wanderlust began when I was a freshman in college and after a year of living on my own, away from my parents, I couldn’t stand to be stuck back in my hometown for the whole summer. Two weeks into my new job as a pizza delivery girl, I gathered some necessities, packed my Kia Soul, and headed for a solo road trip around the United States which lasted just about 5 weeks. I figured if I wasn’t going to be productive in the way society wanted me to be, I should be productive in a way that I felt I needed to be. I wanted to branch out, to see my country with my own eyes instead of seeing it on social media and in documentaries.

I loved living out of my car, experiencing my Self, my country, and its diverse inhabitants with endless potential ahead of me. I stayed in a hostel or motel here and there, at a friend’s in Seattle or Grammy’s house in New Mexico, but I felt so free knowing that if I wanted to leave at any time, my car and all my things were right there waiting for me to drive them away.

2 years of grueling business school and wild, spontaneous traveling later: I had discovered the incredible world of van dwelling. YouTubers who documented their build process, their life and all sorts of Q&A’s filled my spare time. I fell in love with the concept of tiny house living just a short time before I came across van life… so when I saw solo females, couples, and even families thriving in high-top Sprinter Vans, I knew this was something I would eventually pursue.

At this point, I’m in the fall semester of my senior year with not one clue or one care about what I’d be pursuing post-graduation. “Ehh, I’ll figure it out. The Universe is working with me,” were my thoughts. For months, my brain was being flooded with inspiration and information on all things #vanlife. How to do this and that living in a van, costs, and benefits of living in a van, what I’ve learned from and what I’d change about van life… Van dwellers even meet up with other van dwellers and become friends or even travel buddies. It’s a whole new way of life!

I became attached to the idea of getting rid of all the stuff I owned that didn’t serve me, that I didn’t truly need. Within the last year, I donated or sold over 60% of my belongings. Minimalist travel – that’s a whole other topic I’d love to talk about!

Waking up at a beautiful beach, in a forest, in the mountains, or even a city like Portland, OR entices me more than settling down in another house or an apartment that isn’t my own. Paying over $1000/month on housing and utilities is not appealing to me either. I’ve moved over 8 times during my college career, with periods of homelessness in between, and none of the moves were fun or easy. On top of that, if I’m in one place for too long, I get antsy and feel the need to get out and just drive (anyone else?!). Thus, having all of my belongings in one personalized mobile home seems like the perfect situation for a gal like me, right?

With a few very long road trips under my belt and a love for solitude, I already know that I can handle life on the road. With a plan to continue my education online and become a health coach, my future seems to be easily moldable around van dwelling. Working online and remotely has always been a [short term] dream of mine. Now, I can probably guess what you’re thinking… how is she going to make a tiny house out of a van?! I ask myself that question every damn day, to be honest… but believing that I am a strong, capable, intelligent woman who can do anything I put my mind to is just the beginning of my answer. I invite you to follow me on my journey towards van dwelling, mobile minimalism and traveling North America and the rest of the world as a young female. This summer is going to rock and I hope you’re right here rockin’ with me!

 

All the peace and love,

Kayla


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